Predator: Flesh and Blood is a 2007 novel written by Michael Jan Friedman and Robert Greenberger and published by DH Press. Following the death of his grandfather Karl, Andar Ciejek is drawn back into the fold of the corrupt family he deserted years previously so that the Ciejek's vast business empire can be divided up amongst Karl's surviving heirs. However, at the reading of the will on the mining planet Felicity, Andar's ruthless cousin Derek springs a plot to deny Andar his share — and is even willing to enlist the unwitting help of the Hish to make it happen.

Publisher's Summary

BRUTALITY REIGNS...

Humans have all but destroyed the Earth. Relentless in their pursuit of exploitable natural resources, they now move through the outer planets, leaving a path of destruction behind them. One family — the Ciejek clan — has seized control and grown rich from their unconscionable plunders. But with power comes corruption, and one son flees to ravaged Earth in an effort to rebuild not only the planet, but his own tainted life. His respite is cut short, however, when the family patriarch dies and the prodigal son is drawn back into the snake pit for the reading of the will, intent on preserving what little dignity is left to his father's memory. The surviving members of the Ciejek clan are at each other's throats, father against son, cousin against cousin. One side enlists the help of the fearsome Predators to settle the score... but the savagery the warriors unleash is far beyond what even the Ciejek family could have possibly imagined.

Plot

Disgusted by his corrupt family and unable to stomach their utterly ruthless business empire, Andar Ciejek deserts his home as a young man and travels to Earth, where he makes a meagre but contented living working for an ozone restoration company. However, when he learns that his grandfather and family patriarch Karl Ciejek has passed away, Andar is compelled to attend the reading of his will so that Karl's vast estate can be divided up. Arriving on the family-owned mining planet Felicity, Andar attends a welcome dinner and is reunited with relatives and employees he has not seen in years, including his cousin Derek, now his chief rival for control of the Ciejek empire after both their fathers died years previous. Despite remembering Derek as an overweight, uncouth child with malicious tendencies, Andar is amazed to find him a changed man; trim, athletic and well-mannered. However, it soon becomes clear Derek still harbors the intense jealously he felt towards Andar as children, feelings now fuelled by rumors that Karl may in fact have passed control of the Ciejek's businesses to Andar. For his part, Andar remains doubtful he will receive anything after walking out on the family, and has little interest in taking control.

After dinner, Derek meets with an employee who has been working with him on a secret project — having obtained a transmission used by the Hish to alert their kind of suitable hunting grounds, Derek plans to lure a band of the hunters to Felicity and turn them loose on Andar, thereby eliminating his competition for the family inheritance. Now ready to put this scheme into action, Derek has the employee murdered before dispatching the transmission. It is received by the Two Clans That Have Become One, a group of Hish from two separate clans that have been forced to unite after both suffering severe losses. Struggling with internal strife as a result of their unwanted but necessary union, the clan's leaders decide a hunt may help them overcome their differences and form a more harmonious union. Reaching Felicity, the Hish are surprised to find no evidence of the scout vessel that apparently sent them the transmission. Deciding upon caution, a group of four hunters, two from each clan, is dispatched to the surface to investigate, led by the experienced Bet-Karh.

The morning before the reading of the will, Andar and several of his late father's men are taken on an expedition to see more of Felicity's surface. While walking the planet's verdant jungle, Andar is surprised to learn that his grandfather was not the ruthless tyrant he remembered, and in recent years had been seeking to cleanse the family business of its corrupt elements and train it towards doing some good in the universe. Before the group can return to the colony, they are ambushed by the Predators, who easily slaughter many of the ill-prepared humans. The event is watched over by a fleet of small drones that beam footage of the massacre to Derek, who watches from the safety of his personal vessel now in orbit around the planet. To Derek's dismay, Andar manages to escape the ambush and makes for a nearby mining complex, accompanied by his father's chief of operations Celina Laban and several of her men. However, his spirits are lifted when he sees that the Predators intend to pursue. The creatures attack once more within the tunnels of the mine, further reducing the number of survivors, but again Andar and four others escape, including a wounded Laban. Making it back outside, the survivors hijack a large mining machine and use it to escape, killing one of the Hish in the process.

Enraged by Andar's continued survival, Derek hastily assembles his men and returns with them to the colony, intending to deal with Andar himself. Derek's shuttle is detected by the Predator mother ship and the information is passed to Bet-Karh, who leads his hunters to meet it at the landing pad. Most of Derek's men are killed in the ensuing battle, although another of the Predators is slain as well. Andar arrives shortly after, having seen the shuttle come in to land and now hoping to use it to escape. However, in the process of boarding it is blown up by Bet-Karh, killing Laban who was already aboard. Now stuck on the surface, both groups of survivors come to the same conclusion — their best chance for survival is to return to the mines where they may be able to lose the Predators in the maze of tunnels. As the humans depart the colony, Bet-Karh receives a group of reinforcements from the Hish ship above. They set off in pursuit, but along the way the simmering tensions among the different clanmembers boil over, and Predator ends up killing Predator in a savage brawl that only Bet-Karh emerges from alive. Humiliated by his failure to control the situation, Bet-Karh attempts to contact his mother ship and report to his superiors, but when he receives no reply he grimly realises the same fate must have befallen its crew. With nothing else left to live for, he sets his sights on finishing the hunt.

At the mines, Andar and his remaining men are found by Derek and his people, and most of the remaining henchmen kill each other in the confrontation, while Derek confronts Andar personally in a cave in the mountainside. Holding his cousin at gunpoint, Derek reveals that he was responsible for the death of Andar's father, and perhaps their grandfather Karl as well, as he sought to accelerate his rise to power in the family. Despite being unarmed, Andar attacks Derek and manages to overpower him and take his weapon, but finds at the moment of truth he is unable to kill him. Derek is then killed by Bet-Karh, who had secretly been watching from nearby. Coming face-to-face with the Predator, Andar prepares to meet his end, but Bet-Karh, having appreciated Andar's bravery and refusal to give in even against seemingly impossible odds, departs and leaves Andar unarmed. Afterwards, both survivors consider their futures — Andar decides to take control of the Ciejek empire and use its resources to repair a ravaged Earth, while Bet-Karh plans to restore the honor of his clan and teach others the futility of Hish with different ideals attempting to work together as one.

Trivia

Goofs

  • Derek's ship is said to be in geosynchronous orbit around Felicity and completing one orbit every 90 minutes. If this were true, it would mean Felicity has a rotational period of 90 minutes as well, meaning there would be only 45 minutes of daylight followed by 45 minutes of night each day. Aside from being physically unrealistic for an Earth-sized planet, the novel makes it clear Felicity's day/night cycle is far longer than this.
  • When Andar regroups at the mines after the initial attack, a total of eight individuals are said to join him — Laban, Broadhurst, Abelkis, Emphalelo, Mara, Mariano, Minh and Sildar, making for nine in total. However, in the same scene, it is said 11 of the original 21 people in their group are unaccounted four, meaning there should be ten survivors present. A little later, LeFleur is suddenly with the survivors; while this means the numbers are now accurate, LeFleur is never mentioned arriving or being present until he suddenly appears in the middle of a conversation.
  • A similar numerical discrepancy occurs later when Derek returns to Felicity to kill Andar — it is said he has a force of ten men plus his female chief of staff Marlene, yet when Bet-Karh observes them disembarking their shuttle, he muses that their are ten individuals including one woman.
  • It is stated that if Bet-Karh removes his bio-helmet, he will lose his infrared vision. However, the original Predator shows that the species' natural vision is in infra-red, their helmet merely enhances it.
  • During the colony battle, Turgeon is said to be armed with a flamethrower, yet when he earlier used the weapon to kill Heith-Rek it was described as blowing the Predator clean in half, something a flamethrower could not do.

Editions

  • ISBN 978-1-59582-047-1; First printing: [September] [2007], Dark Horse Books, paperback, 237 pages

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